LATROBE, Pa. - It went just as Coach Mike Tomlin had hoped it would, a productive practice against the Buffalo Bills run in a professional manner, without the incidents that occurred when the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders recently held a joint practice.
"Man that was great work. Buffalo was a great dance partner," said Tomlin. "We appreciate Coach (Doug) Marrone and that group and got a lot of things done. Similar work to what we've been doing in terms of structure of the practice and drills setup, but obviously a different sense of urgency, some different schematics and some different guys. It was really a productive day for us. In just a brief communication with Coach, I think it was a very productive day for them.
"I appreciate the professionalism from both teams and that's what it's about, too. I think we've got an obligation to show our professionalism. I thought both teams did a great job of that largely."
There was the normal aggressiveness that comes with a practice of this sort, with the defenses always wanting to impose their will, but the practice generated nothing more than a little extracurricular activity that quickly passed.
"I thought it was great practice. I thought there was great etiquette," said Tomlin. "I appreciate the restraint and professionalism by both teams. I think that doesn't get reported often enough. We like to turn on the TV and see gory, unfortunate incidents like what happened between Dallas and Oakland, and we're here to prove that teams are capable of coming together and doing it in a productive and professional manner. I compliment both teams for how they did it today."
Tomlin said one of the biggest advantages to the joint practice was the increased intensity it generated, giving it a different feel than when you go against your teammates.
"What it does is you only get so many practice opportunities and practice days, and it raises the level of intensity and urgency up a notch," said Tomlin. "I think anytime you can do that with a football team it helps. So I really don't compare it to in-stadium work. I compare it to a non-practice against another football team."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger probably had a different take on the practice than some of his teammates as quarterbacks don't take shots in the live hitting, but he liked the work that got done against the Bills.
Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers practicing with the Buffalo Bills on the 14th day of Training Camp.
"It's good for other guys that are hitting people and getting hit. For me it's not a lot different," said Roethlisberger. "It's going against a different defense, a defense that we will see not only in the preseason but a 4-3 defense that our defense doesn't run very often."
Roethlisberger thought it had a definite advantage for some of the younger receivers and backs on the team, giving them a new look than they have become used to during camp.
"Going against new guys is good," said Roethlisberger. "You go against the same guy every day and learn how he is. To have a new defensive back to go against is good for them."
The Steelers sustained a few bumps and bruises in the practice, but also long snapper Greg Warren left with what could be a potential significant injury according to Tomlin.
"Will Johnson went off with a hamstring strain of some description, doesn't appear to be significant," said Tomlin. "We'll take a look at him. Will Allen, same thing. A potential significant one is Greg Warren. He went off with a leg injury. He's being evaluated (and I) don't know the extent of that at this time. I'll have a better update for you, I'm sure, tomorrow."